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The Cambridge Shakespeare by William Shakespeare


The Cambridge Shakespeare by William Shakespeare

The Cambridge Shakespeare was published in nine volumes between 1863 and 1866. Its careful editorial principles, attractive page design and elegant typography have withstood the test of time. This text was based on a thorough collation of the four Folios and of all the Quarto editions of the separate plays, the base text being the 1623 Folio. The critical apparatus appears at the foot of the page, but for passages where the Quarto differs significantly the entire Quarto text appears in small type after the received text. Notes at the end of each play explain variants, emendations, and passages of unusual difficulty or interest. Grammar and metre were generally left unchanged by the editors, but punctuation was normalised and nineteenth-century orthography was adopted instead of the variable Elizabethan spelling. In a bold move for a Victorian edition, the editors restored various 'profane' expressions where metre or sense demanded it.

About the Author

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born at Stratford upon Avon in April, 1564. He was the third child, and eldest son, of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. Little is known of Shakespeare’s early life; but it is unlikely that a writer who dramatized such an incomparable range and variety of human kinds and experiences should have spent his early manhood entirely in placid pursuits in a country town. There is one tradition, not universally accepted, that he fled from Stratford because he was in trouble for deer stealing, and had fallen foul of Sir Thomas Lucy, the local magnate; another that he was for some time a schoolmaster.

When Shakespeare died fourteen of his plays had been separately published in Quarto booklets. In 1623 his surviving fellow actors, John Heming and Henry Condell, with the co-operation of a number of printers, published a collected edition of thirty-six plays in one Folio volume, with an engraved portrait, memorial verses by Ben Jonson and others, and an Epistle to the Reader in which Heming and Condell make the interesting note that Shakespeare’s ‘hand and mind went together, and what he thought, he uttered with that easiness that we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers.’

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Book Info

Publication date

20th July 2009


William Shakespeare

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Cambridge University Press


544 pages


Shakespeare studies & criticism
Shakespeare plays



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